I’m sure there isn’t a teacher who hasn’t heard the complaint, “I’m bored!” Well, let me tell you, boredom, or the state of feeling bored, is a self-induced state—meaning, we have control over the feeling of boredom.
So what are we to do when students say they are bored? First, we need to help our kids define their boredom. Feelings are individualized—my feelings of boredom may be totally different from my best friend’s feelings of boredom. Therefore, we need to ask kids what they mean specifically by being “bored.”
There are three ways we can help students conquer their feelings of boredom:
adjust, adapt, and advocate.
How we perceive situations can affect the way we feel. Ask students to adjust the way they think about a situation and reframe it in a way that is appealing. For example, in a math class where I am overly challenged by the content, I might think about how getting better at math can significantly impact my future career options. Shifting our mindset about a class, a teacher, or an activity can help us change the way we feel about it. By taking control of our feelings, we avoid being helpless and at the mercy of others’ influences.
Finally, we should teach our students how to respectfully advocate for themselves. If students can’t find value or interest in a situation, helping them find a way to infuse their interests into the content can help them overcome their feelings of boredom. In a social studies class where the students are learning about the U.S. Civil War, students who are interested in sports could research games played by children during that period of time or study Abner Doubleday (the supposed inventor of baseball) and his role during the civil war. Helping students find interest in a topic—or figure out how to infuse their interest into a topic—can be a valuable way to help them avoid feelings of boredom.
Students who are self-regulated rarely succumb to boredom. They have learned how to manage their affect, behaviors, and cognition (ABCs) to find interest in or to benefit from most learning situations. Self-regulation is one of the most important skills our students can possess to be college and career ready.
This blog post originally appeared on www.freespiritpublishingblog.com.
Copyright © 2017 by Free Spirit Publishing. Used with permission. All rights reserved